Pimp My Trademark

I recently watched the MTV show “Pimp My Ride“, in which people with junkers contact the show with the hopes of getting their cars souped -up. The show I happened to watch involved a pretty beaten up Honda Civic. During the car’s transformation, the team installed Lambo doors on the Civic. Lambo doors are car doors that swing up like those in the famous Lamborghini models from the ’80’s (just think of Miami Vice).

I recalled seeing a trademark at one point owned by Lamborghini on the motion of its doors. I did a little research at the U.S. Trademark Office and found the live trademark registration # 2793439 owned by Lamborghini. Here is the image of the trademark as it is currently registered to the company:

Image of car doors swigning up to open.
Image of car doors swinging up to open.

This registered trademark was issued to Lamborghini in 2003 and “consists of the unique motion in which the door of a vehicle is opened. The doors move parallel to the body of the vehicle but are gradually raised above the vehicle to a parallel position. The matter shown in dotted lines is not part of the mark.”

Did Lamborghini license this trademark to the folks involved in MTV’s program? If not, did they commit trademark infringement?

It seems that several companies make and sell kits that allow mechanics to transform any old regular car doors into the pimped out Lambo doors. Most of the kits I have seen advertise the doors as “Lambo doors”, giving proper attribution to Lamborghini as the pioneers.

Back to the trademark infringement. It seems to me that the kit manufacturers would not be infringing the trademark shown above since they are only selling the specialized hinges that make the car doors rotate upwards. That is a functional product (subject to patent laws) and not trademark, which only extends to source identity. If you go back the trademark listed above, Lamborghini owns the right to how car doors actually move on an actual car. So, perhaps the person who owns the car commits the trademark infringement every time they open and close their car doors!

Is Lamborghini going to do the same thing the recording industry has done and go after individuals? Let’s hope they have better things to do.

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